A few years ago Mr P and I were seduced by the bright lights and glamour of New York City. We planned a gourmet trip with a hectic itinerary. We drew up an area list and then hit the city’s foodie hot spots with gusto and in almost military fashion.
We stayed in the glamorous Hudson Hotel with its beautiful minimalist but striking interior and super tiny rooms. You need to be a size 6 to stay in the rooms because there is no room to turn around; Philip Stark did a good job and designed a beautiful hotel, but boy oh boy did he not allow any space for suitcases! Anyway, we did not spend that much time in the room as we were busy testing out all the foodie establishments.
The hotel is situated near the foot of Central Park near the Time Warner Building and home to Bouchon Bakery. Thomas Keller is a very creative and clever businessman. We visited the bakery every morning for a coffee and a different treat each time. We loved sitting at the high tables, close to the counter to watch the chefs at work through the hatch. We found the perfect spot and sometimes found ourselves there for too long observing them. They were superb craftspeople who produced the most stunning and beautiful goods.
Mr P became partial to a biscuit fairly similar to this salted peanut brittle biscuit. He had the idea in his head for quite some time to recreate that indulgent buttery salty taste of those Bouchon Peanut Butter Biscuits. This recipe is entirely a development of our own and, after a few attempts, we finally recreated a recipe that we feel represents the taste sensation of the biscuits in New York.
Watching the world go by in New York City is wonderful and sometimes very amusing too. At Bouchon, they baked Foie Gras Dog Biscuits for the early joggers with their posh pooches who stopped off for a skinny de-caff, a slice of watermelon and a delectable treat for their dog. We struck up a conversation with the ladies behind the counter as they eagerly told us a tale about a chap who came in regularly to buy himself one of these doggy treats. He was constantly told that the biscuits were for his dog and not for him, but he insisted that it was delicious and continued nibbling away. Well, that story left us giggling all day, typically a tale of New York.
Ingredients & Method
- 200g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 450g dark muscovado sugar
- 100g salted roasted peanuts
- ½ vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g smooth peanut butter
- 1 large egg
Make the biscuit dough. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, muscovado sugar, peanuts and vanilla seeds into a food processor and process until you have coarse breadcrumbs. Add the butter, peanut butter and egg and process until the mixture forms a soft, sticky dough. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and push it all together, but do not knead.
Divide the dough in half and roll each portion into a sausage shape, about 5cm in diameter, then wrap each sausage tightly in cling film and refrigerate overnight. (It’s very important that the dough rests well, otherwise the biscuits will bake unevenly and will spread a lot during baking with the potential for burnt edges.)
When you are ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper (or place a silpat on each baking tray).
Remove the cling film from the well-rested biscuit dough sausages and slice each one into thirteen 5mm-thick rounds (to make a total of 26 biscuits), then place the rounds on the prepared baking trays, leaving plenty of room between each one for them to spread (you will probably need to bake them in batches). Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool on the baking trays for 2 minutes, then carefully remove them to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
This recipe makes about 26 biscuits. If you wish to make the biscuits in advance, they will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container, stored in a cool, dry cupboard.